American College For Advancement In Medicine

ACAM

A 1,000 lb deadlift is a legendary feat of strength that anybody would be proud to accomplish. For example, when people think of a 1,000 lb raw bench press, they think about it as the uppermost limit one could reach without any drug assistance. Very few people can bench press 800 lbs raw, and many people don’t believe it’s possible at all. But with the deadlift, this number seems to be much lower than those same nonbelievers.

In my opinion, there isn’t anything special about the deadlift that would make it more difficult than other lifts – you just have to apply the right stimulus and take your time. At least I believe so because deadlifts are what got me a 1000lb total in only a year and a half.

In this article, I will go in-depth about the training required to achieve a 1,000 lb deadlift without the use of steroids or any other form of drug assistance. You might wanna stop reading if you’re offended easily by people’s opinion on drugs because that’s what this is going to be all about – nothing less, nothing more.

Let me start off with how I got into powerlifting in the first place. In high school, I was your average athlete participating in football and track and field during my junior year while also training jiu-jitsu 2x per week for fun. But after watching “Born Strong” around February 2012 and seeing Big Z pull ten 45 lb plates (465 lbs), I was hooked instantly. I decided to drop all other sports in high school (except for the required physical education class) and focus solely on powerlifting, which was not an easy task when you’re surrounded by jocks in a small, middle-sized town like mine that doesn’t take kindly to it.

After doing research about powerlifting programs that are effective for beginners, I came across Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program, which seemed very logical and straightforward. So I purchased his book and started working out 3x per week following this routine:

Mondays – Chest/tri’s Wednesdays – Back/bi’s Fridays – Legs

I did this for eight months before switching over to westside style training because my bench press hadn’t progressed very much. I made decent strength gains on that 5/3/1 program but still wasn’t satisfied because I hadn’t hit 250 lbs on my bench yet, which was a goal of mine ever since I first started powerlifting.

It didn’t take long before Jim Wendler released the updated version of his book called “5/3/1 2nd Edition,” which included westside training as well as other useful information to those who already have been lifting for a while, which would be me at this point. So I switched over to Wendler’s westside program and did it for four months with good results. Here’s an outline of what this routine looked like:

2x per week – Squat 1x per week – Bench Press 1x per week – Deadlift

Three sets of 5 reps on all exercises with rep maxes ranging from 80% to 120%. In between each set, you have an active rest period which I usually use for mobility work. All this time, I was still going to the gym 3x per week doing my 5/3/1 routine, so in total, it was a six-day-a-week training split.

After four months on Wendler’s Westside program, I switched over to Chad Waterbury’s high-frequency program and did that for another four months until August 2013 when my girlfriend moved in with me, and we decided to switch from Ohio back to her home country Austria where she would attend college there. As a result, I moved along with her to Austria and had no access to any gyms or equipment, except for the few pieces of equipment available at the University gym where she was attending college.

I decided to take a 90-day break from training because I knew it would be hard getting back into things after all that time off. By then, September 2013 rolled around, and I decided that I wanted to compete in powerlifting by December just so I could have an idea of where my strength was, given the long break from heavy lifting.

The first competition would happen on December 15th, so it gave me exactly three months to prepare for this meet, which is plenty of time if you look at the big picture – but very little if you failed before like myself even though I had been lifting for a few years by then. I started getting back into things slowly and training 2x per week because it was all I could do at the time due to work and college.

Training consisted of the following:

Friday – Heavy Bench Press Saturday – Squats/light assistance work or heavy deadlifts

This routine wasn’t much different from my previous westside style split, but the main difference here is that I didn’t want to go too heavy in case injury struck again, which would prevent me from competing. In reality, I was still going hard in the gym but not to fail like before when working up to a rep max.

Week one of this program looked like this:

Friday – 275 lbs x 5 reps (92%) 275 lbs x 5 reps (93%) 275 lbs x 4 reps (94%)

Saturday – 315 lbs x 3 reps 325 lbs x 2 reps 330 lbs x 1 rep

This is far from a PR, but I’ll take it considering how long it’s been since my last competition. I was very happy with these numbers because they were higher than my previous bests at any point during my training leading up to that meet. The following weeks went as follows:

Friday – 300 lbs x 5 reps (90%) 310 lbs x 4 reps (92%) 320 lbs x 3 reps 335 lbs x 2 reps 350 lbs x 1 rep 375 lbs x miss!

Week four of this program didn’t go as planned because I was tired of doing the same thing over and over again, so I decided to test out how much max strength endurance I have at this point. The plan was to work up the following way:

330 lbs x 5 reps (90%) 340 lbs x 5 reps (92%) 350 lbs x 4 reps (93%) 360 lbs x 3 reps 375 lbs x 2 reps 390 lbs x 1 rep

It didn’t quite turn out that way, though, because I felt very lightheaded after just one set with 330 lbs, which is odd since it’s only ten more pounds than what I did two weeks prior on my third week on this training cycle. So given these circumstances, I decided to stop here and call it a day.

Saturday – Deadlift:

375 lbs x 5 reps (90%) 385 lbs x 4 reps (92%) 395 lbs x 3 reps 415 lbs x 2 reps 435 lbs x 1 rep 460 lbs x miss! 500 lbs x miss!

That was the first time I ever missed on deadlifts in training with anything lighter than 505, so needless to say; I was very surprised at how hard it proved to be for me when pulling without straps or any assistance gear whatsoever. But given my circumstances of being locked out of the gym during week one of this program because of work, then getting sick, which left me unable to train properly during weeks two and three, I can’t say that things went too bad.

Being sick during week two meant I was only able to train twice in this same week because of work, so it’s clear why my numbers dropped for this week – or at least I’ll explain it like that.

The following is an e-mail that I sent out to the close few people who are involved with my training:

“As you’ve noticed by now, my workouts have taken a bit of a change over the past month. Mainly the fact that I am no longer training back heavy every session like before. My reasoning behind this is mainly due to the lack of equipment available to me here in Austria but also because injuries happen when you neglect other muscle groups to work on just a few.

The first cycle: 3/27 – 4/8 (12 days)

All of my first week back in the gym was spent recovering from being sick and strep throat. I only trained twice that week because I literally couldn’t do anything for longer than an hour at a time due to not having nearly as much energy as I should. This resulted in doing pretty much all upper body stuff during this first week back – mainly incline bench and bent over rows.”

“My second week back into training started off with squats because I felt it would be good to build up leg strength again after neglecting them altogether for a month. For my squats, I started very light, using close to a 5RM load to get my feet used to handle that kind of weight gain. After this first week, I continued on the same raw routine until after two other guys, and I took a trip to compete in Olomouc, which is about six hours away by car.”

“Immediately following our return from Olomouc, I decided to start training for bench using different percentages since it’s been roughly three months since my last competition. My plan is to work up very light for the first few weeks, then continue with 5/3/1 for the bench.”

My current training schedule looks like this: Workout #1 – Upper Body Workout #2 – Lower Body Workout #3 – Back Workout #4 – Off or Deload Workout #5 – Shoulders Workout #6 – Arms

The details: I train back on Monday and Friday using the same 5/3/1 scheme, which includes benching every fourth week. My first day of training is on Wednesday, where I do some type of press followed by one assistance lift for speed work or volume work, depending on my energy levels that particular day. The second day on Saturday is another press followed by an assistance exercise for either volume or speed work once again, depending on how I feel. Then finally, Monday is basically a repeat of Wednesday except everything done during workout out #1 are now repeated at the end of workout out #2.”

“For deadlift, squats, and bench, it’s pretty much always 5/3/1 with the same percentages I’ve been using for quite some time now. These are based on 90% of my training maxes.”

“Finally, when it comes to training my abs, I do around three exercises for between 10-20 reps depending on whether or not I need them to be feeling sore another day.”

The following is an e-mail that I sent out to the close few people who are involved with my training:

Hello everyone! As you’ve noticed by now, my workouts have taken a bit of a change over the past month. Mainly the fact that I am no longer training back heavy every session like before. My reasoning behind this is mainly due to the lack of equipment available to me here in Austria but also because injuries happen when you neglect other muscle groups to work on just a few. The first cycle: 3/27 – 4/8 (12 days) All of my first week back in the gym was spent recovering from being sick and strep throat. I only trained twice that week because I literally couldn’t do anything for longer than an hour at a time due to not having nearly as much energy as I should. This resulted in doing pretty much all upper body stuff during this first week back – mainly incline bench and bent over rows.

My second week back into training started off with squats because I felt it would be good to build up leg strength again after neglecting them altogether for a month. For my squats, I started very light, using close to a 5RM load to get my feet used to handle that kind of weight gain. After this first week, I continued on the same raw routine until after two other guys, and I took a trip to compete in Olomouc, which is about six hours away by car.

Immediately following our return from Olomouc, I decided to start training for the bench using different percentages since it’s been roughly three months since my last competition. My plan is to work up very light for the first few weeks, then continue with 5/3/1 for the bench. My current training schedule looks like this: Workout #1 – Upper Body Workout #2 – Lower Body Workout #3 – Back Workout #4 – Off or Deload Workout #5 – Shoulders Workout #6 – Arms The details: I train back on Monday and Friday using the same 5/3/1 scheme, which includes benching every fourth week. My first day of training is on Wednesday, where I do some type of press followed by one assistance lift for speed work or volume work, depending on my energy levels that particular day. The second day on Saturday is another press followed by an assistance exercise for either volume or speed work once again, depending on how I feel. Then finally, Monday is basically a repeat of Wednesday, except everything done during workout out #1 are now repeated at the end of workout out #2

For deadlift, squats, and bench, it’s pretty always 5/3/1 with the same percentages I’ve been using for quite some time now. These are based on 90% of my training maxes. Finally, when it comes to training my abs, I do around three exercises for between 10-20 reps depending on whether or not I need them to be feeling sore another day. Thanks for reading this far, everyone! I am very excited about improving my strength levels, even more, so please check back in a few weeks!

To sum up, Michael has stopped working his back repeatedly because he has decided it would be best to avoid injuries and allow other muscle groups enough attention that they can grow as well. He also began benching every week while still performing his other exercises on a more standard Mon-Fri schedule. Lastly, he has decided to add in some more ab work and even perform deadlifts every second workout instead of once per week (the deadlift is one of his three main lifts).